Olive Thomas
Silent film actress, model
Olive Thomas
Olive Thomas was an American silent film actress and model. Thomas began her career as an illustrators' model in 1914, and moved on to the Ziegfeld Follies the following year. During her time as a Ziegfeld girl, she also appeared in the more risqué show, The Midnight Frolic. In 1916, she began a successful career in silent films and would appear in over twenty features over the course of her four year film career.
Biography
Olive Thomas's personal information overview.
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News
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SIDFORD: Successful gardening and craft show for Sid Valley Horticultural Society - View Online
Google News - over 5 years
... the 80th Anniversary Cup for food allergy dishes and The MJ Trophy for best painting - Sylvia Cook; the Challenge Tankard Cup - Mary Trilsbach; the Homecraft Cup and the Olive Thomas Cup for best fruitcake - Barbara Poole; the Joan's Bowl for best
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Google News article
NYMF Announces Additional Events - TheaterMania.com
Google News - over 5 years
Among the invited musicals is Jacob and Daniel Seligmann's The Big Bank, about a banker who has lost his passion for his career, and Matthew Martin and Tim Realbuto's Ghostlight, which is based on the true story of Olive Thomas, a small-town girl who
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A Honor rolls - Post Searchlight
Google News - over 5 years
... Kenesha; Mejia, Luis; Mills, Jalyn; Murphy, Courtney; New, Sarah; Norris, Ronald; Odom, Alexis; Olive, Thomas; Overman, Jill; Parker, Brooke; Patel, Shivani; Pearce, James; Phillips, Morgan; Pinson, Vallory; Price, Jasmine; Shelton, Kathryn; Smith,
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Around Town
NYTimes - over 7 years
Halloween Events CLINTON HILL ANNUAL HALLOWEEN WALK Saturday, 5 to 6:30 p.m., a trick-or-treat walk for families through this Brooklyn neighborhood, with a map of locations provided by the Society for Clinton Hill, the walk's sponsor. It meets at the Pratt-Clinton Hill Community Garden, at the corner of Dekalb and Hall Streets;
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NYTimes article
The Listings: April 29-May 5
NYTimes - almost 12 years
Selective listings by critics of The New York Times of new and noteworthy cultural events in the New York metropolitan region this week. * denotes a highly recommended film, concert, show or exhibition. Theater Approximate running times are in parentheses. Full reviews of current shows, additional listings, showtimes and tickets:
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NYTimes article
Poor Olive Thomas, Lost in the Wings
NYTimes - over 19 years
To the Editor: In his article ''A Palace for a New Magic Kingdom, 42d St.'' $(May 11$), Herbert Muschamp didn't mention the legend attached to the old New Amsterdam Theater, that it is, or perhaps was, haunted by the ghost of Olive Thomas, a Follies showgirl. She appeared in the balcony late at night to cleaning ladies, janitors, projectionists or
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NYTimes article
Sexual Harassment Charged at Cornell
NYTimes - about 22 years
Based on sexual harassment complaints from four former students, a Cornell University ethics committee has recommended sanctions against James B. Maas, a prominent psychology professor known both for his research on sleep and for the dozens of educational films and television specials he has produced. The four women, who graduated between 1990 and
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NYTimes article
Public & Private; The Price of Privacy
NYTimes - over 22 years
The city was haunted. Not by the little girl who is said to bounce a red ball through the halls of the Dakota, many decades after death, saying happily, "It's my birthday." Not by the weeping Olive Thomas, the long-ago Ziegfeld Follies star who has been sighted from time to time, vaguely transparent, in the New Amsterdam Theater. This newest ghost
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NYTimes article
A Gang of Ghosts Ready To Rumble
NYTimes - over 23 years
HALLOWEEN is New York's most problematic holiday. For most of America, Oct. 31 offers a thrilling opportunity to pry the lid off the underworld and unleash, for a few hours, the forces of darkness and chaos. In controlled circumstances, ghouls, witches, demons, goblins and assorted Hollywood celebrities are free to roam the earth and torment the
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NYTimes article
WEEKENDER GUIDE
NYTimes - about 31 years
Friday 'ROMANCE ON ICE' Valentine's Day brings an ice show called ''Romance on Ice'' to the South Street Seaport, which is celebrating a Winter Festival this weekend with free festivities ranging from ice sculptures to wandering minstrel singers. ''Romance on Ice,'' with a cast of 12 led by Laurie and Greg Welch, will be presented today at 5:30,
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NYTimes article
ORDER OF BLACK NUNS DEVOTES IT'S LABORS TO HARLEM
NYTimes - almost 36 years
Sister Hyacinth, untethered by her long, dark blue skirts and veil, shuttles a blue station wagon among Harlem's parochial schools, picking up children of working parents for safekeeping after school. Mornings, this Franciscan Handmaid of Mary shepherds the aged to clinics or does errands for the house-bound. Between her obligations at the Convent
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Olive Thomas
    TWENTIES
  • 1920
    Age 25
    On October 4, 1920, Thomas' final film, Everybody's Sweetheart, was released. Thomas' first marriage was to Bernard Krug Thomas, a man she met at age 15 while living in McKees Rocks. They married on April 1, 1911, and lived with his parents in McKees Rocks for the first six months of their marriage.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1920, Thomas played a teenage schoolgirl The Flapper, who yearns for excitement beyond her small Florida town.
    More Details Hide Details Thomas was the first actress to portray a lead character who was a flapper and the film was the first of its kind to portray the flapper lifestyle. Frances Marion, who wrote the scenario, was responsible for bringing the term into the American vernacular. The Flapper proved to be popular and became one of Thomas' most successful films.
    On November 22, 1920, Thomas' effects were sold off in an estate sale.
    More Details Hide Details The sale netted approximately $30,000. Lewis Selznick bought Thomas' town car for an undisclosed sum. Mabel Normand bought a 20-piece toilet set, a 14 karat gold cigarette case, and three pieces of jewelry, including a sapphire pin. The press coverage of Olive Thomas' death was one of the first examples of the media sensationalism related to a major Hollywood star. Her death has been cited as one of the first major Hollywood scandals. Other scandals including the Fatty Arbuckle trial in 1921, the murder of William Desmond Taylor in 1922, and the drug-related death of Wallace Reid caused many religious and morality groups to label Hollywood as "immoral." The public outcry prompted Hollywood studios to begin writing contracts with "morality clauses" or "moral turpitude clauses," allowing the dismissal of contractees who breached them.
    On September 29, 1920, an Episcopal funeral service was held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York for Thomas.
    More Details Hide Details According to The New York Times, a police escort was needed, and the entire church was jammed. Several women fainted at the ceremony, and several men had their hats crushed in the rush to view the casket. Thomas is interred in a crypt at the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City. Thomas did not leave a will upon her death. Her estate, which was later valued at $27,644, was split between her mother, her two brothers, and husband Jack Pickford. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be equivalent to $359,012.99 in 2013. Pickford later relinquished the rights to his share choosing to give it to Thomas' mother.
    After Thomas' death, the police initiated an investigation and an autopsy was performed. Thomas' death was attributed to acute nephritis caused by mercury bichloride absorption. On September 13, 1920, her death was ruled accidental by the Paris physician who conducted her autopsy.
    More Details Hide Details Jack Pickford brought Thomas' body back to the United States. Several accounts stated that Pickford tried to commit suicide en route but was talked out of it. According to Mary Pickford's autobiography, "Jack crossed the ocean with Ollie's body. It wasn't until several years later that he confessed to Mother how one night during the voyage back he put on his trousers and jacket over his pajamas, went up on deck, and was climbing over the rail when something inside him said: 'You can't do this to your mother and sisters. It would be a cowardly act. You must live and face the future.'"
    In 1920, they adopted Thomas' six-year-old nephew when his mother died.
    More Details Hide Details By most accounts, Thomas was the love of Pickford's life. However, the marriage was tumultuous and filled with highly charged conflict, followed by lavish making up through the exchange of expensive gifts. Pickford's family did not always approve of Thomas though most of the family did attend her funeral. In Mary Pickford's 1955 autobiography Sunshine and Shadow, she wrote: I regret to say that none of us approved of the marriage at that time. Mother thought Jack was too young, and Lottie and I felt that Olive, being in musical comedy, belonged to an alien world. Ollie had all the rich, eligible men of the social world at her feet. She had been deluged with proposals from her own world of the theater as well. Which was not at all surprising. The beauty of Olive Thomas is legendary. The girl had the loveliest violet-blue eyes I have ever seen. They were fringed with long dark lashes that seemed darker because of the delicate translucent pallor of her skin. I could understand why Florenz Ziegfeld never forgave Jack for taking her away from the Follies. She and Jack were madly in love with one another but I always thought of them as a couple of children playing together.
  • 1919
    Age 24
    She followed with roles in Love's Prisoner and Out Yonder, both in 1919.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1918
    Age 23
    After leaving Triangle, Thomas signed with Myron Selznick's Selznick Pictures Company in December 1918 for a salary of $2,500 a week.
    More Details Hide Details She hoped for more serious roles, believing that with her husband signed to the same company, she would have more influence. Her first film for Selznick, Upstairs and Down (1919), proved to be successful and established her image as a "baby vamp."
  • 1917
    Age 22
    Her first film for Triangle, Madcap Madge, was released in June 1917.
    More Details Hide Details Thomas' popularity at Triangle grew with performances in Indiscreet Corrine (1917) and Limousine Life (1918). In 1919, she portrayed a French girl who poses as a boy in Toton the Apache. Thomas later said that she felt her work in Toton was "the first real thing I've ever done." She made her final film for Triangle, The Follies Girl, that same year.
    In 1917, Thomas signed with Triangle Pictures.
    More Details Hide Details Shortly after, news broke of her engagement to actor Jack Pickford, whom she had married a year prior. Thomas and Pickford, who was the younger brother of Mary Pickford, kept the marriage secret because Thomas did not want people to think her success in film was due to her association with the Pickfords.
    In 1917, she made her full-length feature debut in A Girl Like That for Paramount Pictures.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1916
    Age 21
    In July 1916, Thomas signed with International Film Company.
    More Details Hide Details She made her on-screen debut in "Episode 10" of Beatrice Fairfax, a film serial.
  • 1915
    Age 20
    She was granted a divorce on September 25, 1915, on the grounds of desertion and cruelty.
    More Details Hide Details In 1931, Bernard Krug Thomas gave an interview to The Pittsburg Press, detailing his marriage to Olive. In late 1916, Thomas met actor Jack Pickford, brother of one of the most successful silent stars, Mary Pickford, at a beach cafe on the Santa Monica Pier. Both Thomas and Pickford were known for their partying. Screenwriter Frances Marion remarked, "I had seen her often at the Pickford home, for she was engaged to Mary's brother, Jack. Two innocent-looking children, they were the gayest, wildest brats who ever stirred the stardust on Broadway. Both were talented, but they were much more interested in playing the roulette of life than in concentrating on their careers." Thomas eloped with Pickford on October 25, 1916, in New Jersey. None of their family was present, with only actor Thomas Meighan as their witness. The couple never had children of their own.
    She made her stage debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1915 on June 21, 1915.
    More Details Hide Details Thomas' popularity in the Follies led to her being cast in Ziegfeld's more risqué Midnight Frolic show. The Frolic was staged after hours in the roof garden of the New Amsterdam Theatre. It was primarily a show for famous male patrons who had plenty of money to bestow on the young and beautiful female performers. Thomas received expensive gifts from her admirers; it was rumored that German Ambassador Albrecht von Bernstorff had given her a $10,000 string of pearls. During her time in The Follies, Thomas began an affair with Florenz Ziegfeld. Ziegfeld, who was married to actress Billie Burke, had affairs with other Ziegfeld girls, including Lillian Lorraine and Marilyn Miller (who would later marry Thomas' widower Jack Pickford). Thomas ended the affair with Ziegfeld after he refused to leave Burke to marry her. Thomas continued modeling while appearing in the Follies. She became the first "Vargas Girl" after she posed for a portrait painted by Peruvian artist Alberto Vargas. The portrait, titled Memories of Olive, features Thomas nude from the waist up while clutching a rose. The portrait was reportedly commissioned by Florenz Ziegfeld but Vargas later denied this claim. Ziegfeld purchased and hung the portrait in his office at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Vargas, who called Thomas "one of the most beautiful brunettes that Ziegfeld ever glorified," kept a copy of the painting for his personal collection.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1914
    Age 19
    In 1914, Thomas entered and subsequently won "The Most Beautiful Girl in New York City" contest held by commercial artist Howard Chandler Christy.
    More Details Hide Details Winning the contest helped establish her career as an artists' model, and she would later pose for Harrison Fisher, Raphael Kirchner, and Haskell Coffin. She was featured on many magazine covers including the cover of Saturday Evening Post. Fisher wrote a letter of recommendation to Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., resulting in Thomas' being hired for the Ziegfeld Follies. However, Thomas later disputed this, claiming she walked right up and asked for the job.
    The two had a daughter, Harriet, born in 1914 (Harriet was killed in a car accident in 1931).
    More Details Hide Details Thomas left school at the age 15 to help support her siblings. She got a job selling gingham at Joseph Horne's department store for $2.75 per week.
  • 1913
    Age 18
    After their separation in 1913, Thomas moved to New York City and lived with a family member.
    More Details Hide Details She later found work in a Harlem department store.
  • 1911
    Age 16
    In April 1911, aged 16, she married Bernard Krugh Thomas in McKees Rocks, a small mill town.
    More Details Hide Details During the two-year marriage, she reportedly worked as a clerk in Kaufmann's, a major department store in Pittsburgh.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1894
    Born
    Born on October 20, 1894.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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